Bangladesh’s government has approved an amendment that would allow for the death penalty in rape cases, as anger grows in the South Asian country over incidents of sexual assault.
Anisul Huq, Justice Minister, told that the law would be put into effect by the president on Tuesday.
Earlier, the maximum punishment for rape was life imprisonment.
The approval comes in the wake of protests staged by different organisations at Dhaka’s Shahbagh square and
other parts of the country against sexual assaults on a woman in Noakhali and the rape of another woman in Sylhet’s MC College.
Police arrested eight suspects after the video of the assault went viral more than a month after the attack occurred at the victim’s home in Noakhali.
In the separate case, the woman was allegedly gang-raped last week in a hostel in the northern district of Sylhet,
leading to the arrest of several members of the student wing of the ruling party.
Bangladesh was rocked over the weekend by an unprecedented level of protest after footage of a brutal gang assault on a woman went viral on social media.
Demonstrators carried signs reading “Hang the rapists” and “No mercy to rapists”.
As many as 4,541 rape cases have been reported Bangladesh in the past 16 years and the accused were punished in only 60 of these incidents, according to data from the tribunals.
At least 889 women have been raped in Bangladesh between January and August 2020, rights group Ain O Salish Kendra said.
As many as 192 others faced attempted rapes and sexual harassment in this period, while nine of the victims took their own lives, bdnews24 reported.
Rights activists believe the numbers are much higher because many of the victims do not complain to the police.
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